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The silent muscle disease affecting 1 in 5 older Australians

Do you have difficulty getting out of a chair, opening a jar or crossing the road? If yes, you may be showing signs of sarcopenia, which causes the accelerated loss or failure of skeletal muscle mass and function.

An estimated 1 in 5 older Australians aged over 65 will live with the condition, and experts say we may see an increase in signs and symptoms as people sit more and move less due to COVID-19.

Professor Robin Daly from Deakin University said the disease is clinically underreported and unrecognised, meaning that early prevention is critical to avoiding development in later life.

“This is a serious condition, it’s not just something that happens normally during ageing, it’s impacting the quality of life, the independence, and the risk of disease for so many people,” he told Aged Care Insite.

Daly is the chair of exercise and ageing at Deakin University and the former president of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research.

He spoke with Aged Care Insite about the relatively unknown condition of sarcopenia, why people are more at risk of developing it during COVID-19, and at-home strategies we can use to take control over our muscle health. 

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